Travonte Valentine, a once-highly touted high school star who was dismissed last summer from LSU, said he has a “50 percent chance” to rejoin the program and play this season.
The LSU staff, specifically coach Les Miles, has not made a decision on Valentine’s future on returning, but the team has been in contact with Valentine about a potential return, the player said in an interview with The Advocate on Monday.
Valentine, a 6-foot-3 defensive tackle now weighing about 345 pounds, must complete a certain amount of classes this spring and this summer to reach eligibility for the 2016 season — something he’s working toward, he said. Valentine said Auburn and Mississippi State have offered him scholarships. He included LSU on that list, too, saying the Tigers want him back.
“It’s a possibility,” he said Monday. “It’s a 50 percent chance I can return. It’s a lot that’s undecided right now. I’ve got to think about it and talk to my family.”
Valentine has visited Baton Rouge several times over the last few weeks, meeting with staff members, including defensive line coach Ed Orgeron.
Valentine, a Miami native, should know in August if he passed the requisite amount of courses to become eligible in 2016. He’ll then make a decision on a school then, but he could enroll at LSU this summer.
Valentine, who would have three years of eligibility remaining, could be an immediate help at nose tackle in new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s 3-4 defense. It’s somewhat of an unstable position. Christian LaCouture, at 307 pounds, started at nose tackle at the beginning of spring practice before the staff moved Davon Godchaux, at 293 pounds, into that role with two weeks left in spring.
Valentine’s football career has been a roller coaster since he left Miami’s Champagnat Catholic-Hialeah as the third-ranked defensive tackle prospect in the 2014 class.
The Southeastern Conference never ruled him eligible during his true freshman season at LSU, despite the NCAA granting him eligibility. He was allowed to participate in practice with the Tigers in 2014. Miles suspended him for spring practice in 2015 in what the coach suggested was academic in nature.
Valentine was then dismissed in July “for not following team rules,” he said Monday.
Valentine’s at his third school in the past year. Following his departure from LSU, he spent the fall semester at Arizona Western College, a powerhouse junior college in Yuma, Arizona. He was dismissed after an arrest in Arizona. He enrolled at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in January.
Valentine played in Arizona Western’s first six games last season, registering 11 tackles and two sacks, before his dismissal. On Oct. 15, 2015, Valentine was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, according to court records obtained by The Advocate. The court dismissed the charge a month later. The arrest stemmed from a physical altercation.
LSU finalizing satellite camps
LSU is finalizing locations and dates for satellite camps, and they won’t only take place outside of the state.
LSU is expected to host camps in New Orleans and/or Shreveport this summer in addition to out-of-state cities, a source told The Advocate. LSU was prepared to host satellite camps in Dallas, Houston, Detroit and Atlanta, Miles said earlier this spring after the NCAA banned satellite camps.
The governing body repealed the ban last week, and, starting May 30, SEC teams — like their brethren in the Big Ten — can host camps outside of their own campuses.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @RossDellenger.